Costa Coffee and family butchers among 16 businesses warned about Covid rule breaches in Bridgend

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Authorities have given improvement notices to 16 more businesses in Bridgend County Borough for breaching coronavirus rules.

Over the last two weeks council officers have given warnings to four cafes, four takeaways, four convenience stores, two butchers, a carpenters, and a wine merchant for issues concerning face masks.

On Thursday, January 14, notices were served to Lifestyle Express, Heol Fach, North Cornelly, K2 Gym Cafe at Brackla Industrial Estate, and Bargain Booze at The Triangle, Bridgend.

On Monday, January 18, officers from the Shared Regulatory Service (SRS) gave improvement notices to Bargain Booze in New Road, Newton, Porthcawl, because staff failed to wear “adequate” personal protective equipment.

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According to a council spokesman staff at Lifestyle Express “failed to wear face coverings” while staff at K2 Gym Cafe also failed to wear masks and were given advice on social distancing.

Documents on the SRS website revealed two members of staff at Bargain Booze were working in close proximity without wearing masks. They noted one staff member was exempt from wearing a mask.

On Tuesday, January 12, and Wednesday, January 13, officers gave noticed to Central Fast Food in Kenfig Hill, Pyle Fish Bar in Ffald Road, Phil’s News and Cafe on Bridgend Industrial Estate, Mozzarella Pizza and Kebab in Kenfig Hill, and Meg’s Cafe at Heol Ganol.

A council spokesman said three members of staff at Mozzarella Pizza and Kebab were not wearing masks while in close proximity to each other and customers. They also said Pyle Fish Bar and Central Fast Food in Kenfig Hill were given notices because “at both of these premises staff were not wearing face coverings when customers were in store and when they were not”.

The director of Pyle Fish Bar, who gave his name as Sunny, said he was not present at the takeaway when the notice was served but staff told him only one worker was in the premises at the time and was working behind a plastic screen without wearing a mask.

According to Sunny the staff member who was caught breaching the rules was not wearing a mask because it irritates her skin. He said he later advised the staff member to find masks in a more suitable material or provide proof of medical exemption.

“I’m quite surprised with the notice,” he added. “We have got notices on the windows advising customers what the rules are and floor markings, hand sanitiser, and plastic screens in the shop.

“If we were violating the rules by not having those in place then I could understand it. I personally think it was a bit harsh to put an improvement notice in place. The time it took for them to conduct the visit was literally five minutes.”



Pyle Fish Bar was given a notice because a staff member was not wearing a mask while working alone behind the counter

SRS documents state three members of staff from different households were working in close proximity without masks at Meg’s Café. They also said officers found two groups of three staff working at Phil’s News and Café “with no masks or masks below noses in close proximity”.

On January 5 enforcement officers gave notices to Costa Coffee in John Street, Porthcawl, Magness Butchers in John Street, and Wall 2 Wall Wines in New Road in Porthcawl because staff were not wearing masks when they should have been.

A spokesman for Costa Coffee said a council officer came back to the store at a later date and terminated the notice as they were satisfied with the measures put in place.

They added: “It appears the original notice was relating to a team member who was on their break having a drink and was rectified when it was mentioned by the officer at the time.

“Whilst we feel the government guidelines and our policy on face coverings were being followed we recognise the importance of being aware at all times so the store team has been reminded about this.”

On Wednesday, January 6, officials issued notices to The Star in Nolton Street, Bridgend, T & H Family Butchers in Dunraven Place, Bridgend, Nottage Timber & Joinery Ltd on Village Farm Industrial Estate, Pyle, and Apna Bazaar in Dunraven Place in Bridgend.

A council spokesman said at each of these premises staff were found not wearing masks when they should have been.

Tudor Morris, co-owner of T & H Family Butchers, said he does not believe he breached regulations because he was preparing meat alone in the back room of the shop, without a mask, when the improvement notice was served.

Mr Morris said the enforcement officer who gave him the notice told him he needed to wear a mask while preparing meat in order to reduce the risk of him infecting it.

“To tell me I would infect the meat without a mask on is absolutely ridiculous,” he added. “I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my life”.



According to the Welsh Government website everyone over the age of 11 must wear a mask unless they are exempt. The website reads: “It applies to staff working in indoor public areas and to members of the public entering those public areas.

“Masks must be worn in all indoor public places and on public transport including shops and shopping centres, places of worship, restaurants, pubs and cafes (until customers are seated).”

A council spokesman said: “All inspections are carried out to the full extent of the pandemic requirements and businesses are treated equally.

“The issuing of a notice is always a last resort and the service remains fully focused upon ensuring that staff and customers remain safe from potential exposure to the coronavirus.”

The government website states staff working in indoor public spaces must wear masks “if they are in an area accessible to the public”.

It also states staff who are not facing the public may also need to wear face coverings “if physical distancing cannot be maintained”.

For example employers may require staff to wear masks indoors “as a reasonable measure to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus on the premises unless there are strong reasons not to”.

The SRS, a partnership between South Wales Police and Bridgend, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan councils, carries out checks on licensed premises to ensure they comply with government guidelines.

Businesses are usually given 48 hours to comply with the terms of an improvement notice. Failure to comply can result in closure, a fixed penalty notice, or being taken to court.

The SRS has issued 52 improvement notices to businesses in Bridgend County Borough and temporarily closed four for breaching Welsh Government coronavirus rules.

So far no businesses in the area have been permanently closed for breaching the regulations.

Officers have given notices to 40 businesses in Cardiff and 35 businesses in the Vale of Glamorgan for rule breaches.



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